Toronto, Nov 3 : Adults who have experienced physical abuse as children have a higher chance of suffering from osteoarthritis compared to those who have not been abused, according to a new study.

University of Toronto researchers investigated the relationship between self-reported childhood physical abuse and a diagnosis of osteoarthritis (OA).

After analysing representative data from the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey, the researchers determined a significant association between childhood physical abuse and osteoarthritis in adulthood, the website Science Daily reported.

Osteoarthritis, which involves a degradation of joints, is an often debilitating chronic condition that affects millions of adults. "We found that 10.2 percent of those with osteoarthritis reported they had been physically abused as children in comparison to 6.5 percent of those without osteoarthritis," says lead author Esme Fuller-Thomson.

"This study provides further support for the need to investigate the possible role that childhood abuse plays in the development of chronic illness."

Co-author Sarah Brennenstuhl stated: "We were surprised that the significant association between childhood physical abuse and osteoarthritis persisted even after controlling for major potentially confounding factors such as obesity, physical activity levels as well as age, gender, income and race."

According to the researchers, one important avenue for future research is to investigate the pathways through which arthritis may develop as a consequence of childhood physical abuse.

The study was published in the November issue of the journal Arthritis Care & Research.

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